Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for May to August 2004

The bottom line

SOI Rises In Value (19/04/05)

The SOI has continued to fluctuate quite strongly. As of the 19th May, the 30day average of the SOI is plus 9.6. This is a remarkable rise in value considering the monthly value of the SOI for April was minus 16.1.

It will be very interesting to see if this rise in value is maintained through to the end of the month when the new seasonal outlook is developed or will it fall back into negative values. A fall back into negative values would create a corresponding drop in rainfall probabilities across eastern Australia for the following 3 months.

However if the SOI remains in positive values through to the end of the month a "reasonable" seasonal outlook would be expected to continue for the following couple of months.

The latest information from the Bureau of Meteorology "El Nino Outlook"> still points to a higher than normal chance of an El Nino of some type developing later this winter. It will be interesting to see if this develops and what impact, if any, this may have on our expected late winter/spring rainfall.

In my opinion the ongoing changes in the SOI phase and SST patterns roughly seem to be following or similar to what happened in 1953, 1957, 1986/87 and 1992.

Given these developments, we continue to highlight a 'cautious' approach to property management decisions. It's also worth remembering management decisions shouldn't based entirely on any one factor such as the seasonal outlook. As always, any factor that could impact of the outcome of a decision (such as soil moisture levels, soil type, crop, commodity prices, finance, costs, seasonal outlook etc) should be considered.

Last updated: 18 May 2004